Tokyo may crow of being the city with the most Michelin stars in the world, but ask a native where’s the best city for local food and chances are you’ll hear Fukuoka popping up pretty often, especially if you’re a ramen fiend. After all, two well-known ramen chains — Ippudo and the ever-reliable Ichiran — hail from the city, which sits further down south on the Japanese archipelago.
In this edition of our city guides, we’ve enlisted local photog Felix Lee, who’s been based across Japan capturing various cultural events for the past five years. Here are his recommendations on the best spots in Fukuoka to kick back, relax and pig out:
2 Chome-3-26 Momochihama, Sawara Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture 814-0001, Japan
“Built by the same company behind Tokyo Skytree, this is the tallest structure in Fukuoka. It houses a few observation decks within with which visitors can enjoy the view of the city. Planes are known to fly low in the city of Fukuoka — so bring a camera with long focus lens and you’ll be able to capture some amazing shots of planes entering this city.”
1-2 Ohorikoen, Chuo-ku, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0051, Fukuoka Prefecture
“One of the most beautiful water parks in Japan, you can stroll and watch giant carp in the large pond, rent a rowboat or a romantic swan boat for two here. It is situated in the middle of Fukuoka city, so it’s hard to miss, and it’s also where many resident gather to watch fireworks display during the summer.”
Yanagibashi Rengo Market
1-5-1 Haruyoshi, Chuo-ku, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0003, Fukuoka Prefecture
“While Tsukiji is undoubtedly the most famous fish market in Japan, Yanagibashi is more like a market for the locals. Do visit early, because fresh items sell out fast, especially over the weekend. It is a relatively small market (quality over quantity), and most shops specialise in one particular produce. If you enjoy a fresh and cheap sashimi bowl, look out for a two-story shop that has been there since the ’80s — it’s located at the end of the fish market street.”
“Fukuoka ramen are different from the ones you find in Tokyo; the main difference are the thinner noodles and usually, a thick creamy pork bone broth. Fukuoka is also the hometown to the famous Ippudo and it’s good but since you are already in Fukuoka, why not go for non-chain stores? Here are two of my recommendations.”
4-28-1 Sumiyoshi Hakata-ku Fukuoka Fukuoka
“They make 4 different styles of Kyushu ramen and they do it all very well! The owner was born further south and live in various parts of Kyushu before settling in Fukuoka.”
2 Chome-5-25 Nagahama, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0072, Japan
“Probably my favorite bowl of ramen. The emphasis is in the ramen broth, but the shop’s old-fashioned atmosphere also transport visitors instantly back to the Showa (the ’70s) era. The whole experience of eating here makes this a must-visit.”
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